By Daniel Hunter
A joint report from the Local Government Association (LGA) and the British Property Federation (BPF) to be published on Tuesday will set out how strong local partnerships could unlock development and speed up economic recovery.
With development outside of central London at near standstill, the report is the result of a year of 'behind the scenes' work between the LGA and the BPF.
It sets out how strong partnerships between councils and the property industry are crucial to bringing forward investment and development to create jobs and drive growth in local economies.
The joint report calls for the removal of a series of blockages prohibiting councils and the private sector from "investing in the development which would speed up economic recovery."
- A major expansion of 'City Deals' already negotiated by some of the country's leading cities to allow all areas to access the tools and levers they need to get growth going
- Relaxing restrictions on a US-style system to use future uplift in business rates to unlock billions of pounds of investment to promote growth
- A commitment from Government to explore how its £50 billion Infrastructure Guarantee Scheme can be used to support local capital projects
- Streamlining funding for growth by allowing the creation of local investment funds
- Allowing the reformed planning system to 'bed in' rather than impose further rounds of reform
- Introducing Stamp Duty Land Tax relief for public sector assets;
- A much greater emphasis on attracting inward investment from overseas and continuing support to encourage investors to stay.
Sir Merrick Cockell, Chairman of the Local Government Association, said:
"Economic growth is a top priority in both the public and private sector and we are both equally keen to see the removal of any barriers standing in its way.
"One of the key messages of this report is that these things need to be done and decided at a local level — centrally imposed, one-size-fits-all solutions are inefficient and outdated.
"Local government and business both agree that planning is not the key barrier to growth and further reforms of the planning system are not the answer.
"Instead, we need the devolution of more power and money to local areas so that councils and business can drive economic growth from the ground up."
Liz Peace, Chief Executive of the British Property Federation, said:
"This unprecedented collaborative project shows how councils and developers can lead the way, but that sometimes the path is blocked.
"Central government also has a part to play in facilitating the development of growth-generating partnerships which could speed-up economic recovery.
"Without action from Whitehall to remove blockages, partnerships will continue to strive for economic growth with one hand tied behind their backs."
A key part of the work has been a detailed look at the problems faced by three very different local authority areas (Cornwall, Barnsley and Kettering), helping to ensure that the proposals being developed were grounded firmly in reality.
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